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ALS Awareness Month: ALS in the Military...Unexpected Consequences of Military Service

Date Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Category: Health Care - National

On April 11, 2019, the ALS Association released a report, “ALS in the Military: Unexpected Consequences of Military Service,” including reviews of numerous studies, reports, and other evidence demonstrating the link between ALS and military service. In summary:

‘Existing evidence supports the conclusion that people who have served in the military are at a greater risk of developing ALS and dying from the disease than those with no history of military service. As outlined in this paper, study after study continues to demonstrate this to be true: If you serve in the military, regardless of the branch of service, regardless of whether you served in the Persian Gulf War, Vietnam, Korea, or World War II, and regardless of whether you served during a time of peace or a time of war, you are at a greater risk of dying from ALS than if you had not served in the military. The questions we are asking today are these: Why is there a greater risk of ALS with military service? And what are we, as a nation, going to do about it?

It is the goal of The ALS Association that this paper raise awareness of the important work that so far has been done on the relationship between ALS and military service. In this effort, we hope to impress upon the Congress, the Administration and the American public the seriousness of this issue and the need to act now.’

In 2008, the VA implemented regulations to establish a “presumption of service connection” for ALS. Under the regulation, the VA presumes that ALS in military veterans was incurred or aggravated by a veteran’s service in the military. Veterans diagnosed with ALS are rated 100% disabled by the VA through an expedited claims process, understanding the fast progression of the disease and the need for medical equipment and services. The disabled veteran and their survivors are eligible for “service connected” benefits.

The month of May is “ALS Awareness Month,” providing an opportunity to better understand what is known about the disease and how to help afflicted veterans and others as well as their families. A reputable starting point is the ALS Association (http://www.alsa.org/search/search.jsp?query=ALS+Military&Image2.x=0&Image2.y=0).

Read the full article at: ALS Association